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Farm Worker OT Could See Legislative Changes

SALEM, OR -- A year after the legislature mandated overtime pay for farm workers, an effort is underway to make changes to the law. State Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) is proposing revisions to rules requiring farms pay workers overtime after a certain number of hours, "Hopefully being able to fix some of the problems that we see arise before they actually hurt both farm workers and small family farms." The law passed during the 2022 short session and took effect in June. Boshart Davis tells KBND News similar mandates in California led to smaller paychecks for farm workers, "Employers will attempt to reduce hours qualifying for overtime pay, the employers will try to hire additional laborers to reduce that overtime pay." 

Among other changes, she wants an exemption for peak harvest times, “Or we’ve heard it called a harvest worker allowance or a harvest week or a peak week - The bill that I would like to do sets the threshold for the overtime higher only during certain weeks of the year.”

She’s optimistic about her proposal with new leadership in the legislature and the departure of Democratic Representative Andrea Salinas, now in Congress, "Which is positive because she kind of was that force here in the building." Salinas was the chief Sponsor of that original 2022 farm worker overtime bill.

 

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